A big part of the issue with Russia is that the Bear controls, to a large degree, Europe’s natural gas supply. Moscow could make winter very cold on the continent with a flick of a switch.
That’s true across the Eastern Mediterranean, where nations have watched enviously over the decades as energy finds a bit further east made their Gulf peers rich. Now it’s got riches of its own, as it becomes clear that Delek’s discoveries were just a start. The whole area from Cyprus to Lebanon and Egypt may be sitting on even bigger gas fields. The United States Geological Survey estimates they could hold more than 340 trillion cubic feet, an amount that would surpass U.S. proven reserves, though many in the industry think the actual volume may be lower.
There’s an ideal market nearby in Europe — rich, mostly lacking its own fuels, and desperate to wean itself off energy dependence on Russia. It’s just that getting the gas there will require collaboration between countries with a history of feuding or fighting.
“This is the kind of opportunity where either everybody rises or everybody falls,” said Amos Hochstein, who served as former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s energy envoy.